Halfway into October, we’re deep into post-season baseball. Although, the Padres haven’t given us local San Diegans much to boast about this year (or last), local standouts at the Salk Institute and UCSD knocked one out of the park this week in Nature. Here’s a team that really knows how to cover the bases, all five of them. Researchers at Salk and UCSD, teamed up with Jim Thompson’s group at UW, and used MethylC-Seq to crank out the first whole-genome, single-base-resolution maps of methylated cytosines in not one, but two types of mammalian cells—human embryonic stem cells and fetal fibroblasts.
But the team didn’t just stop there. Nah—they go into extra innings by extensively characterizing the differences between these methylomes. Pretty much all (99.98%) of the fibroblast methylated Cs were in the typical CG context, but things heated up when the group looked at the stem cells.
- Almost 25% of the methylation action was detected outside the more documented CG dinucleotide you’re used to reading about
- This type of mod was seen in a second stem cell line and in fibroblasts that were induced into pluripotency.
This non-CG methylation patterning in stem cells suggests that this type of methylation might be an unsung hero in maintaining pluripotency. But hey, that’s what the post-season’s all about. Big labs and epigenetic mechanisms making big plays.
Check out the highlight reel at Nature, October 2009